(MENAFN - Arab News) Japan joins the support of various sectors in the Kingdom for the appointments of Saudi women as members of the Shoura Council of Saudi Arabia, according to Japanese Ambassador to Riyadh Jiro Kodena.
"Japan welcomes the first-ever appointment of 30 female members to the Consultative Council of Saudi Arabia," he said in a statement issued by the embassy.
Earlier, Saudi women welcomed the appointment of female counterparts to the Shoura Council. Naila Attar, an economic adviser and member of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), was happy about some of the appointments
Basma Omair, executive director of Khadija bint Khuwaylid for Businesswomen at the JCCI, also praised the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah "for taking this big step."
Omair said she hoped women would in future be better represented in the JCCI, up from the current 20 percent, and that they could also be appointed to the Council of Ministers. The embassy added that Japan also supports Saudi Arabia's continuous efforts for reforms toward a wider participation of people in politics, and expects the implementation of such reforms in Saudi Arabia.
The Japanese envoy announced that he was delighted that Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, who headed the United Nations Population Fund from 2001 to 2010, had been appointed as a Shoura member.
Obaid was conferred with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun in Oct. 2011 by the Japanese emperor for her outstanding contribution to the promotion of the concept of "human security" or protection of individual lives and dignity from conflicts, diseases, and, in particular, the improvement of the lives of women and children.
The Japanese envoy said his country was working to broaden exchanges with Saudi Arabia, especially among women.
A Japanese women's delegation led by Mariko Bando, president of Showa Women's University, visited the Kingdom last month and held meetings with Saudi business and academic women.
The number of Saudi female students in Japan is growing.